Page:Our American Holidays - Christmas.djvu/241

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ON SANTA CLAUS

GEORGE A. BAKER, JR.

Brave old times those were. In the first half of the seventeenth century, we mean; before there was any such place as New York and Manhattan Island was occupied mostly by woods, and had a funny little Dutch town, known as New Amsterdam, sprouting out of the southern end of it. Those were the days of solid comfort, of mighty pipes, and unctuous doughnuts. Winter had not yet been so much affected by artificiality as he is now-a-days, and was contented to be what he is, not trying to pass himself off for Spring; and Christmas—well, it was Christmas. Do you know why? Because in those times Santa Claus used to live in a great old house in the midst of an evergreen forest, just back of the Hudson, and about half-way between New Amsterdam and Albany. A house built out of funny little Dutch bricks, with gables whose sides looked like stair-cases, and a roof of red tiles with more weathercocks and chimneys sticking out of it than you could count. Phew, how cold it was there! The wind roared and

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